The entertainment is back at spoonbill manor
THE spoonbills are nesting in the tall tree on Girard's Hill again. I have an excellent view from my veranda. I sit, like a neighbourhood spy, binoculars at the ready, avidly keeping up with all the comings and goings.
Like Jimmy Stewart in the Hitchcock film Rear Window, I am captivated by what I see. In the film, the Jimmy Stewart character has a broken leg and, as he recuperates, he passes his time watching the occupants in the apartment building opposite his.
One night, during a thunderstorm, there is a commotion across the way. He hears a woman shouting and the sound of breaking glass. Then he sees some mysterious activities: a man carries a suitcase and a large trunk out of the building and then cleans a large knife.
Nothing like the furtive cleaning of a large knife to set you to wondering if there has been foul play.
But in the tree the fowl play (get it?) consists of the crows shouting angrily at the nesting birds.
The spoonbills are bigger than the crows so they simply wave their beaks in a threatening manner and the crows retreat to higher branches there they keep up a strident call of complaint.
The collective noun for a group of crows is a murder.
I feel sure that these stroppy black birds are plotting all sorts of dark things against the spoonbills. Most of the year the tree is theirs but when the spoonbills arrive they are summarily ejected.
The spoonbills circle the tree in big lazy circles and bring food to their cheeping babies. The crows show their irritation by mobbing the birds with near miss swoopings and shrill cawing from higher, safer branches. It's a jungle up there in the tree.
It keeps me very entertained on long summer afternoons. But as they say, no one ever wins a war of occupation (looking at you Afghanistan, Palestine) and eventually, once the babies are fledged, the spoonbills will leave and go back to the Duckpond in South Lismore. Peace will reign.
The crows will go back to arguing among themselves and I will forget about their murderous activities for another year.
So there you have it - the New Year begins.
Maybe, just maybe, we will have a year where goodwill and kindness dominate and the environment comes out the winner when all the arguments are done. Fingers crossed.